Any stringed instrument will eventually require replacement of strings, and your viola isn’t any different. When that time comes, it’s important to understand basics like the differences between synthetic core, steel core, and gut core strings.

Best Viola Strings

Perhaps the two most important factors to consider are the size of your viola and the string gauge. If you’re not sure which string gauge to go with, start with medium gauge string sets. After that, you can switch to light or heavy gauge string sets if they suit your playing style better.

Top 6 Best Viola Strings

Different playing styles demand different strings, but most viola players shift towards synthetic core medium-tension strings. Why? Because they’re affordable and produce a warm tone. They’re also far more durable than gut core strings and gut strings. Want to check out other available options? Here is a list.

Product Rating

Thomastik-Infeld 141

4.7

D’Addario Prelude

4.5

Pirastro Gold

4.7

D’Addario Helicore

4.7

Pirastro Obligato

4.6

Super Sensitive 4107

4.5
Thomastik-Infeld 141 Dominant Synthetic Core Viola Strings, Medium Gauge, 4/4 Scale, Set of 4

We find these strings among the most popular viola strings, mainly because they sound rich and warm. They’re synthetic core, so tone-wise they’re as warm as gut strings and as precise as steel core strings.

The multi-strand nylon core is much more tender on fingers, so these are a suitable alternative to steel strings. Arguably, their best feature is their effortless response to intricate fingering. Nevertheless, players seek synthetic core strings when they need durability and the right tone without the premium price tag. That’s what these medium-gauge Thomastik-Infeld dominant viola strings offer.

Features

  • Highly flexible multi-strand synthetic nylon core
  • Medium-gauge dominant strings
  • Excellent tuning stability even with atmospheric changes

Pros

  • A warm sound that’s full of overtones
  • Stable even when subjected to extreme atmospheric conditions
  • Impressive response to fingerpicking

Cons

  • Might take up to a week to break-in
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D'Addario Prelude Viola String Set, Medium Scale, Medium Tension

It’s not often that you find high-quality strings within a low budget. However, their tone and durability prove that they’re far more valuable than the price tag indicates.

Designed for 15 to 16-inch violas, these steel core, medium tension strings have a warm sound and impressive resilience. Prelude strings are suited to students because they have a muted tone that hides mistakes caused by poor technique. In other words, they’re much more pleasant to practice with.

Features

  • Arrives in a sealed anti-corrosion pouch
  • Solid steel core with warm tone and rapid response
  • Medium tension and designed for medium scale violas (15 – 16 inches)

Pros

  • Warm tone
  • Durable
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • They sound too muted; they might lack the crisp clarity needed to play professionally
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Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold Viola String Set 4/4 Medium

The Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold Viola strings are the gold standard (literally and figuratively) for professional viola performances. They boast excellent tuning stability and an impressive dynamic range with rich overtones. Most of all, they have great response times, which justifies its somewhat steep price tag.

The set is available in medium tension. All the strings have the ball-ends, but only the A string has the removable ball. It is also the only string with chrome-steel winding. As steel core strings, they don’t disappoint as far as tonality is concerned. The sound is clear and warm, and although these strings do take a while to break in, they’re worth every penny.

Features

  • Multi-filament fiber core
  • Ball-end strings (removable A-string ball)
  • All strings have peg-end silking

Pros

  • A warm tone with rich overtones
  • Outstanding response
  • Excellent tuning stability
  • Impervious to temperature and humidity changes

Cons

  • It takes about a week to settle on the viola
D'Addario Helicore Viola String Set, Medium Scale, Medium Tension

If there were ever a one-size-fits-all solution for viola players of all genres, it would come in the form of D’Addario Helicore strings. Flexible, fast, and responsive, the stranded steel core strings create a clear yet complex tone. Moreover, being prelude strings, their tonal warmth is undeniable, as is their strength, flexibility, and durability.

These strings are certainly not for beginners. They’re for intermediate and advanced players seeking excellent pitch and stability. These strings have a unique multi-fiber core that offers superb balance in tuning and richness that can only be rivaled by pure gut strings. Bow response is comfortable, yet excellent—just what a professional player needs.

Features

  • Zyex synthetic core
  • Medium-scale viola strings (13 – 14 inches)
  • Medium-tension
  • Packaged in sealed pouches

Pros

  • Warm sound with significant volume
  • Easy on the hands
  • Available in different sizes (Extra large, medium, and short)
  • Quite durable
  • Extremely stable in various atmospheric environments

Cons

  • The C string’s tone is disappointing
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Pirastro Obligato up to 16.5

Pirastro strings are known for their rich, dark, and warm tones. These strings are commonly used by pros looking for a deeper tone. Pirastro’s medium-gauge obligatos offer the complexity of gut core strings and synthetic core string’s stability and response. In other words, they’re easy to play, and they sound great!

The far more melodious tone makes these strings capable of turning cheap violas into professional instruments. They are impressively stable when tuning, and they hardly fall out of tune.

Features

  • Ball-end steel strings
  • Medium gauge

Pros

  • They hold the tune very quickly
  • Produces beautiful, mellow sound
  • Tons of resonance/volume

Cons

  • These strings are expensive compared to other dominant strings
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Super Sensitive Viola Strings (4107)

Last but not least, these strings are on every viola instructor’s list of strings for students. Why? Well, for starters, they have finer silking, which means they’re easier to install. They also tune up quickly and are impressively stable for a set at this price point. So, the best reason to get these American-made Super Sensitive viola strings is that they’re very affordable.

Usually, steel core strings always have a clear and warm tone. These have even more clarity and melody because of the dampening material used to create them. Still, there’s no doubt that they’re beginner strings. However, if you’re looking for more resonance or tone quality, it’s worth spending a little more on some other dominant strings.

Features

  • Round solid steel core
  • Flat nickel winding
  • Medium gauge

Pros

  • Superb tonal quality
  • Affordable
  • Durable

Cons

  • Strings need lots of rosins to sound good
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many strings does a viola have?

Ans: It has four strings. The viola strings names are – C, G, D, and A strings. Here, C is the lowest string, whereas A is the highest one.

2. Do I need to replace the viola’s strings more often?

Ans: It depends on how much you play your instrument and how well you maintain the strings. For instance, aluminum-wound strings are susceptible to sweat, so they wear out rather quickly if you don’t clean them after every practice/playing session.

In any case, you should think about replacing your strings if they start to lose resonance, or if they become more challenging to play, especially when you’re playing a piece with vibrato.

3. Why does gauge matter?

Ans: The gauge of a string is nothing but its thickness. A thicker string (heavy gauge) will produce a more resonant, centered tone, whereas a thinner string (light gauge) will have a much lighter tone and less resonance.

While some musicians prefer one over the other, most prefer to stick to a medium gauge with a balanced tone and resonance. The gauge you pick should ultimately compliment your playing style.

Our Top Pick

The D’Addario Helicore Viola String Set is something worth considering. Suitable for all playing styles and multiple genres, these strings are the ideal pick for viola players of any expertise, be it novice or expert. The string’s excellent pitch, made possible using exclusive Zyex core material, and the impressive tuning stability make these strings very easy to play, not to mention incredibly durable.